India is extremely susceptible to the impact of climate events. It has witnessed cogent changes in mean and extreme climate during the period of 1951- 2013, according to the analysis based on IMD data. As we have seen mean annual air temperature has increased in many regions of the country while prominent increase was observed in the number of hot days, night-time temperature, and growing degree days during the period of 1951-2013.
Climate change has contributed to extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and heatwaves in India. Floods and drought are more often than not two sides of the same coin. In certain areas, they damage soil, water systems and ecosystems in repeating cycles that exacerbate each other’s impact. During the dry season, any rain passes straight through what are often degraded soils, leaving crops to wither in the sun. So, farmers rely on wells that tap underground reservoirs. But this resource is quickly depleted because most monsoon rainfall runs uncontrollably off the land, without replenishing the underlying water.
Today as many as nine states are reeling under drought…India has seen two consecutive droughts. On the one hand, several parts of the country are facing water crisis, leading to distress in the rural landscape, on the other, heavy rains and subsequent floods continued to wreak havoc across Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.
Last year, June was struck by heat, wavering with 47 degree Celsius temperature. It was recorded hottest in past 62 years and turned out to be the longest heat session of the month. It’s not new to the ear that heat strokes have certainly taken lives before and is still counting today.
The monsoon season rainfall became more erratic resulting in some of the most severe and widespread droughts during the recent decades (2002, 2009 and 2015). The increased frequency of droughts has led to challenges to food security and water management. With substantial increase in the number of hot days and day and night temperatures, India is drying out marked by persistent moisture deficit conditions, according to a latest study jointly taken by ASSOCHAM and Skymet Weather Services.
Climate change has a severe impact on Indian agriculture. Rice crop yield decreases with the rise in temperature. For instance, an increase in temperature by
2 degree Centigrade decreases the grain yield by 15 to 17 per cent. It is an ominous situation because the paddy and wheat production in Northeast India has already been declining. Short-season crops (vegetables and fruits) are the worst affected by climate changes, particularly during critical periods of their growth.
Fluctuating weather patterns are increasingly manifesting themselves in stronger and more formidable ways. The recent Chennai deluge, El Nino causing back to back droughts and heat records setting new standards every year – all of these are the sign of bigger calamities in the future unless we take them as a serious threat to the environment and to humanity.
Science has progressed substantially in recent years, enhancing more accurate assessment of how much extreme event is driven by climate change and other factors. Because of a focus on heatwaves the pilot countries in South Asia are India and Pakistan.
The climate scientists across the world agree that the main cause for these changes taking place in the weather and weather forecasts is Global Warming. A number of studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent climate scientists agree that climate warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. Most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued statements endorsing this position.
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